First Thursdays

First Thursdays are outdoor festivals that showcase the diversity of arts and humanities at IU Bloomington and offer a welcoming environment for students to explore new creative outlets and engage with the work of their peers and faculty members. Previous festivities have included everything from opera signers to breakdancers, stage-fighting to clay-throwing, and much, much more. Each First Thursday is unique, and each is a great opportunity to experience the wonderful work of artists, performers, and scholars from all across campus.

The October First Thursday will carry on the spirit of our larger festivals by offering unique opportunities for creative exploration and engagement, but with a focus on small-stage performances and individual activities spread out around several Open Air Venues. This First Thursday Trail will allow for better social-distancing and other public safety measures. 

Note: To facilitate contact tracing, all First Thursday attendees are asked to register using the link below. You must use an IU email address to register.

Cool Stuff for Students!

A&H Creativity Kits

Stop by any Home Base to pick up your very own Arts & Humanities Creativity Kit, a collections of arts materials and fun prompts to kick your creativity into high gear and help spread the power of the arts and humanities all across campus.

B-Town Trail Maps

Go on a mini First Thursday treasure hunt and find all six B-Town Trail Maps hidden around the festival. These maps invite you to continue exploring with walking tours that highlight the art, culture, and natural beauty of Bloomington. 

Eskenazi Museum Terrace

The Keys to the Future Series is an outdoor piano recital series that aims to keep performers and audiences connected through live-music during a time that has rendered the traditional concert format impossible. These concerts promote emerging young professional pianists from the Jacobs School of Music by giving them the opportunity to share their music with socially distant. This series is sponsored by MTNA (Music Teacher National Association) at IU Collegiate Chapter and the Arts and Humanities Council.

Have you been wondering how the singers over at the Jacobs School of Music are enduring covid-19 precautions? The answer, as always, is ‘practice, practice, practice!’ Come enjoy a multi-facetted selection of exquisite songs for voice and piano, including works from over three hundred years of repertoire in four languages. Quarantine will not silence us!!”

Between Woodburn Hall & Prebys Amphitheater

The IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is planning its upcoming exhibits. We’ll have photos and hands-on copies of artifacts at First Thursdays. Help us learn more about your thoughts and interests by stopping by and sharing your questions and ideas with us.

The Russian and East European Institute will be featuring an East European instrument petting zoo in collaboration with East European Ensemble, where musicians will explain and demonstrate their instruments. There will also be several coloring pages featuring art works currently displayed in the Eskenazi Museum in their East European art collection.

Participants at the Dhar India Studies booth will have the opportunity to test their knowledge of South Asia (i.e., India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal), with the chance to win prizes!

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies will share the fun of making Chilean Rain sticks that have been historically used to simulate the mystical sound of rain. We will guide you through the steps to make your own rain sticks and maybe create your own rain.

#BlackVotesMatter in Bloomington and everywhere. And the deadline to register is October 5. Visit the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center (NMBCC) & African American Arts Institute (AAAI) booth to be part of the #BlackVotesMatter campaign by sharing why you vote. Follow @nmbcc_iu and @iuaaai for more.

Stop by any Home Base to get your Student Creativity Kit! These kits contain dozens of activities and materials organized under the categories of Create, Share, Reflect, Explore, and Express. The kits are a safe and convenient way for you to take the creative spirit of First Thursdays back to your dorm or apartment and continue to follow your passions, either alone or in small groups, throughout the semester.


Several food trucks will be on campus during the October First Thursday Festival, courtesy of our friends at IU Dining!

  • La Pablona
  • The Big Cheeze
  • Chocolate Moose
  • Kona Ice